Since his debut, 1994’s Bloomed, Richard Buckner has made a name for himself penning disquieting folk songs with fragmented lyrics and broken phrases. His words weave around their subjects—divorce, death, loss—like a boxer wearing down an opponent with jabs; their full force is felt only in the brief quiet between lines. “Tough is as she does / Won’t you slump on over and stir my shuffle down,” Buckner sings in “Ed’s Song,” a live staple, reveling in the sound of the constants while sketching out a heartbreaking portrait of a relationship on the rocks. Often there seems to be a jilted party or a dead body; the circuitous tale Buckner has told about the five years he spent making his new album, Our Blood (Merge), features a headless corpse, among other characters. Compared with previous releases, the songs on Our Blood offer a clearer narrative; Buckner tightens up the gaps in his storytelling ever so slightly. On this tour, Buckner coheadlines with David Kilgour, guitarist in New Zealand outfit the Clean, who released his own Merge album, Left by Soft, a jangly guitar-pop collection, earlier this year.
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